Sunday, January 3, 2016

NFL Picks: Week 17

Photo courtesy of Slate
There were no early week games this week of course, as is normal for the final week of the season, so let's just get on with the show.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.



Jets (-3) over BILLS. I'm very afraid. This is a playoff game for the Jets, because they pretty much need to win in order to advance, unless of course the Browns or Chargers miraculously beat the Steelers or Brockos, respectively. For most fans, like myself, this is the defining moment of the Todd Bowles era, because a win can slay some of the demons of the Same Old Jets. The biggest demon of course, and not just by physical weight, would be that of former head coach, Rex Ryan. I didn't agree with the Jets letting him go, but I do prefer Bowles at the helm. There's no question that Ryan will be going all out to beat a team that never really filled the roster with the talent necessary to be a true contender, and yet he helped drag to two AFC title games. The other demon would be simply, the Jets penchant for losing very important games like this one, or their entire season being felled by senseless losses such as in the first meeting between these two teams in New Jersey earlier this year.

This is probably the wrong pick to make, but I say that the Same Old Jets are buried...for now at least.

DOLPHINS (+9.5) over Patriots. The Pats do have to win to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs, so they won't be taking it easy. However, as the road team, a ten point win is a lot to ask.

FALCONS (-6) over Saints. The Falcons have somewhat righted the ship, and are ready to complete their rollercoaster season on a high note despite having finally being eliminated from the playoffs last week. The Saints on the other hand, can't stop anyone on defense, which spells doom when going up against Julio Jones and Mat Ryan.

Ravens (+9.5) over BENGALS. Even though A.J. McCarron is currently listed as probable for this game, there's still a chance that his wrist injury keeps him out of this game and Keith Wenning makes his first NFL appearance against the team that drafted him last year.

BROWNS (+11) over Steelers. Austin Davis isn't terrible, so I refuse to give him 11 points at home. While I could see a scenario where the Browns pull out a win much like the Ravens did against Pittsburgh last week, it's highly unlikely.

TEXANS (-6.5) over Jaguars. The return of Brian Hoyer means the Texans will beat yet another AFC South foe. Of course, I have to be wary of the Garbage Time Jaguars coming back and pulling out a backdoor cover.

COLTS (Pick'Em) over Titans. Only four hours before gametime, and I still can't find a line for this game, so I'll just call it even until I see an update. This game means a lot, and no not because the Colts have a miniscule chance of making the playoffs (it's virtually impossible), it's because this game signals the return of Josh Freeman to the NFL. Anyone who has followed this site for any length of time knows of my love of Josh Freeman. It started when he was a legitimately good NFL quarterback, and irrationally continued as he rapidly forgot how to play football. I gave up when it seemed that his career was over, and he ended up in the FXFL (yes, that exists) in 2015, but miraculously, he has gotten one last shot. Let's go Josh, you can do it.

Washington Professional Football Team (+4) over COWBOYS. Washington has absolutely nothing to play for, because they're locked into the fourth seed no matter the result, but I can't say that the Kellen Moore Cowboys are four points better than any team, even a team putting forth a halfhearted effort.

GIANTS (-5.5) over Eagles. In the aftermath of the firing of Chip Kelly, I don't expect much from the Eagles this week.

BEARS (+1) over Lions. In what should be an okay game, I'm taking the home dog. The Bears aren't that much worse than the Lions, so I'm a little confused by the line, but I'll take it. UPSET ALERT.

PANTHERS (-10) over Buccaneers. Even after losing out on the chance for a perfect season, the Panthers still need a win to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs, much like the Patriots. Being that the game is in Charlotte, expect the Panthers to be back to their dominant form.

CHIEFS (-7) over Raiders. Yet another win as the Chiefs roll into the playoffs on the back of ten straight victories. This game could potentially be closer, but at Arrowhead, I'll stick with KC laying a touchdown.

Chargers (+9.5) over BROCKOS. The Broncos are clearly the better team, but with Brock Osweiler at the helm, it's hard for me to lay nearly double digits to anyone.

CARDINALS (-6) over Seahawks. The Cardinals are barreling through everyone in their path right now, and the Seahawks will be no exception. They're a juggernaut and the most likely candidate to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Rams (-3.5) over 49ERS. Against all odds, the Rams found a way to finish at or around .500 this season, as with all Jeff Fisher teams, despite looking dead in the water just a few weeks ago.

Vikings (+3) over PACKERS. The Packers are kind of a fraudulent team, and that will show tonight, as the Vikings go into Lambeau and swipe away the division crown. UPSET ALERT.

Last Week: 7-9

Season: 120-112-7

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